The left brain's feelings don't care about the right brain's facts: how neuroscience explains the political divide.
Fantastic summary John! And congratulations on diving into The Matter With Things - no small reading project to say the least. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and I have to say I keep getting side tracked (for example I had to buy "Madness and Modernism" by Louis Sass based on McGilchrist's references - it's not a light read (even with my neuropsych training) but well worth it in terms of grasping the insanity of the current age). I think there is a few years of study at least in this two volume masterpiece.
I'll be sure to highlight this piece under the first of my series that you have made reference to.
About conspiracy theories:
I think the mad conspiracy theories are purposefully connected together so the reality somewhere in the middle disappears. It's a way of discrediting sources.
-WTC towers: first years real documentaries serious discussion regarding conspiracy and possible causes. Then suddenly all kind of BS popped up like there were not even airplanes and so on. So crazy ideas that people refused to debate 9/11 anymore as looneys were everywhere.
Now regarding the vaccination/ great reset I'm observing the same. Although it happens much faster. I'm in multiple telegram groups and most started out seriously citing different MDs (we know them) and with valid reasons against vaccines. Now after a year most of the groups turned into flat earth believers and they post absolutely nonsensical materials. But once per week still they post something very valid... So the valid concern gets buried in BS material.
What I discovered recently on brain-hemispheres was that there are vertical and horizontal thinkers (as opposed to left and right) Meaning, that this is a DNA, genetic, hard-wired mindset within cultures. To make it simple there is a nautical, sea-faring mentality that has to be able to adjust to a multitude of differentials on a daily basis, and a land-locked, agrarian, fixed mentality. One mindset flexible and agile, the other rigid.
Great read and summary, thanks! Yes, it's a hefty book, but also stunningly beautiful as a hardcover (I took the plunge after ruminating for a while and spent the fortune for the real thing...)
The only thing I'd like to add is that the political left/right identification with RH/LH thinking strikes me as somewhat too sharp; having grown up in Germany I'm very familiar with the postmodern intellectual milieu, and a recurring theme has always been an emphasis on intuition, "wholeness", etc. as opposed to cold materialist science. Well, the intellectuals at the time took that impulse and messed it up, left-brain-style, so it's complicated. Note that McGilchrist often relies on many thinkers that postmodern leftism sees as part of its tradition (Hegel, Schelling, Heidegger, Jung etc.) All I'm saying is that I agree with you with regard to the current political climate, but let's not forget that the right can be very left-brainy too, like with fundamentalist religion, fixed moral codes instead of moral intuition, etc. As McGilchrist would probably agree, it's often not so black-and-white...
Just some thoughts, thanks again!
This explains the difference between those who are concerned with the details of COVID (Who is most affected? Who is not particularly in danger?), the mitigation efforts (Do lockdowns do more harm than good? Do masks actually work?), and the vaccines (Do they really work? Can they harm? Do they kill?), and those who are all-in on these same subjects, with little care for the details and an overwhelming desire to "protect" and an absolute sureness that their actions are positive, all while ignoring the warning signs (which is counter-intuitive if you're trying to protect people).
This is the single best post I've read this year. I keep coming back to it. Congratualtions on making something we've all suspected more clear. I never wanted to ascribe psychosis to the many leftists I know. Didn't want to engage in "you're crazy" shouting matches. They haven't broken w/ reality. They've just attempted to bend it to their preferred arc.
Excellent article. And delighted to see this work now spreading even further.
Just one thing to add, the Catholic Institution has indeed been very destructive and left-brain dogmatic for almost all of its history. But Old Catholic Theology as found in for example Dante, is extraordinarily "both brained" and right hemispheric (thus all his attacks on the Church). McGilchrist struggles with finding the remedy for the ills, though implicitly stating it in his last chapter on the Sacred in TMWT. A solution to rebalancing the hemispheres personally and culturally, is to be found in Dante. Understanding and combining the metaphorical Virgil & Beatrice. But insist on Virgil/Reason as a "threshold of consent".
Thanks again for the work you do!
Greetings John —
I’m a lot late to this party since I’m only now reading through your earlier posts in order to learn more about what you have to say.
I read one of your essays which was posted on the SOTT news aggregation site (which I’ve been reading daily since June 2006).
I see SOTT has posted your latest blog entry re Cosmic Information Transducers on their site today as well. 🥳
And, I found your initial blog post published on SOTT and your interview with them which I listened to yesterday a joyfully stimulating, thoughtful and inspiring read & conversation.
Thank you so much for offering both brain and soul food to counter the joy-killers’ continuous onslaught upon our psyches of nrg-depleting faux-food.
Yesterday, I watched your interview with Harrison,Elan, & Adam on SOTT.
Another uplifting exchange.
I especially appreciated you differentiating and describing your evaluation of a values-based focus and a virtues-based focus. That cleared up some of my own annoyance with the continuous spouting of “family-values” by simply re-framing that viewpoint to “family-virtues”.
If families could focus more on acting in accordance with virtuous lifestyles, that would appeal more to me personally than focusing on family values imo.
But I digress.
I decided to check out your other blog postings and chose to start at the beginning.
While reading your above post, I was struck by the synchronicity of what I’ve been mulling over in my mind these past 3 days vis-a-vis what you’ve outlined in this particular blog post.
Thank you for stating so clearly & succinctly the Left & Right Brain Hemispheres’ different attitudes.
Now I understand better why so many of my own Right Brain Hemisphere communications with more Left Brain Hemisphere oriented minds appears to me to fall into a black hole.
Well good. That helps me realize I can simply drop my own expectations that if I just invest more nrg into reaching a better understanding with LBH-oriented minds, that we can both increase and expand our world views.
So . . . maybe not? Lol
Anyway, just wanted to acknowledge your butterfly wings effect upon my own thinking in a profoundly helpful way and to say thank you very much for that. 🤗
As a bipolar sufferer this post sent me into thinking.
When I was in manic mode I was very creative, and that's stereotypically a right brain thing. I even had some hallucinatory trip-like moments, without drugs. I thought that was more like right brain overfunctioning. What was happening to me then? Left brain overriding reality and bringing the right side with it?
This is an interesting article. However, over the years I have become more and more convinced that 'Left and Right' is just a false dichotomy. The only true political dimension that matters is libertarian vs authoritarian. Both the traditional left and right are authoritarian.
The best way to see that they are a false dichotomy is that at every particular moment they maintain apparently different ideas about how to exert their authoritarian control, but often they reverse them over time. There are multiple examples of this.
Another way to see it is this: who is more similar to a Democrat politician? A Republican politician! When you scratch the thin rhetorical coating of the political discourse, you find the same desire to control others in the way that most benefits you.
I believe it was you who recently wrote an article about the purpose of false dichotomies. They are extremely useful to restrict the narrative into well defined limits. You can only lean to the right or to the left, which are the same thing!
What they want to prevent at all costs is that you oppose both and rather embrace the libertarian camp.